The german news publication http://www.spiegel.de/international/ just did an article about Germany’s odd relationship with Russia. The article gives you some background information which demonstrate why the relationship is so important for both countries. They mention that Russia supplies Europe with most of its energy needs and also point out that Germany is Russia’s second largest trading partner behind only China. However, the truly interesting part comes when the article describes how both sides view the other. It is a fairly long article so here is a good quote that shows what I mean.
“From the German perspective, leaders in Moscow still don’t understand that Russia is no longer a global power and that it needs Europe as a reliable partner. The administration in Berlin views the Russian crusade against NATO’s planned missile-defense system in Europe as a last, desperate effort at power-posturing — Russia pretending to be strong because it is actually weak.
The Kremlin sees the situation differently. Not without some schadenfreude, Putin and his advisers view the West’s influence on global politics as waning. They point out that, over the last 30 years, the EU member-states’ share of the global economy has been steadily sinking. “Putin is convinced that the Western model already has the zenith of its global allure behind it,” says political scientist Nikolai Slobin.”
The part I found most amusing is that when you think about it both sides are correct when they think that the other’s global significance is waning. One other part I found interesting in the article was when the author relayed a story about the two leaders of Russia and Germany, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. Below is an excerpt describing when the two leaders met in 2007.
“During a meeting at Putin’s vacation residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in January 2007, Putin allowed his black Labrador Koni to sniff his guest’s pants (photos here). Merkel has been afraid of dogs since being bitten by one as a child. Putin only smiled.”
Sure makes you think what a nice guy Putin is.